props for the “just a mom”.

Ok.

So this is NOT a post about working vs. non working moms.  I’m not going to try and be original and re-invent that conversation because it is tired and only starts arguments about what is right for each family and what not.  I really believe that you should be able to praise one thing without knocking the other and that is my intention in this here post….Please understand this is written about my personal journey as a mom.  Not you or your sisters or aunts and what they have chosen.  This is just my experience, not a prescription for a perfect “anything”.  Each person needs to decide with the Lord and their husband what is best for their family.

***********

Yesterday I received a compliment and dig, all in the same sentence.  I didn’t walk away offended, just more aware of myself, i suppose.

I saw someone that I hadn’t seen or talked to for about 9 months.  When I walked up with Miss K in tow (chomping on Chick-Fil-A), we exchanged pleasantries and what not.  She proceeded to ask what I was doing, and the conversation went like this:

Her: “So, you quit your job, right?”

Me: “Yea. I quit about 9 months ago.”

Her: “So, are you doing anything?”

Me: “Lots of things!”

Her: “Oh really??  Like what?”

Me: “Just all the things that being a mom has.”

Her: “OH! (Realizing).  But you aren’t DOING anything.”

Me: “I stay at home and raise my daughter.”

Her: “That must be nice for you. To be “Just a mom”.”

***********

When she said that, and I truly believe she had no idea that someone could be offended by what she said, I realized that I am 100% ok with being “just a mom”. I also realized there are cycles in motherhood.  When you try different things, test out the water and see what you can handle and the purpose for your time as a mother.

I felt like my cycle one started when Miss K was born: I tried working for the first 7 months Miss K was here.  I loved my job.  I still love that job.  I miss it dearly.  BUT, I was going nutty.  I wanted to be with her.  I wanted to be undistracted and I wanted to have less on my plate.  I was stressed and overwhelmed.  Frazzled.  Not giving my job or my child the best of me. I had to quit. So I left my job of 6 years one Sunday.  Broke my heart, but had to be done.

Cycle two started about 2 months after I quit: I began to heavily craft and create when Miss K napped and was in bed.  It was an outlet for me and one that I needed. I liked to have a therapeutic moment and realized that when I was creating, I was making things that people would buy.  I have always, ALWAYS enjoyed the idea of being a small business owner and thought, “I could do this!  From home!  I’m starting Cherry Tree Lane!”  I began making more. I did shows, sold things, made more, got “clients”, filled large orders and got busier.  All in a short amount of time.  Quickly I saw that I had replaced one job with another.  Even though I could have a scheduled largely picked by me, I became preoccupied again with things I now “had” to do because I was being paid.  Having a very small business was fun (I learned about tax laws, small business benefits and met some awesome business owners that I loved learning from). I really did enjoy it.  I saw how, with the right amount of passion and work ethic, it could really turn into something special.  I got a good response.  I loved it.  However, I became overwhelmed.  I was getting alot of work and more shows were coming up.  I found that I really couldn’t just do “some” crafting and only exhibit a few things.  Crafting is a moving beast and you do need to keep up (if I want to make a “business” of it).  I had to stop for the time being.

Cycle Three has been where I am parked for the past 5 months or so. Being “just a mom” has become my focus.  That’s it.  I do craft occasionally (actually Im working on something right now for a gift that I’m pretty jazzed about), but I came to a conclusion about myself.  I’m not a good multi-tasker (and I actually think that the term “multitasking” means doing a bunch of things just “ok”, anyways).  I mean, I can bake a cake, change a diaper and make sure the house is clean, of course.  What mom can’t?  But I can’t juggle, in my mind, the in’s and outs of a thriving business and be the mother I want to be, simultaneously.  It’s not in me and I felt for awhile, that I needed to apologize for that.  I feel like (and realized during our conversation last night) many people (mothers and non-mothers included) are not “ok” with JUST being a mom.  There needs to be something on the side.  There has to be something else that defines them.  They have to have something else to explain to people or stand on. Something else that keeps them current, creative or relevant.  Otherwise, they aren’t “doing” anything.

Obviously, i disagree with this.  I don’t feel like I have lost my identity with having a child, although I’m aware there are those that feel that.  I feel like my identity was added to and will always be evolving.  It will always be changing and maybe my identity will include a small business at some point, but right now it won’t.  I am JUST a mom right now.  My priority is my family and that is what I can handle right now.  I am in the business of raising a child and cooking, cleaning and creating memories is my product, for the time being. And I am no longer going to apologize for that being ok with me.  I won’t feel bad because this is what I have chosen and what is best for my kid.  I’m sure there are woman that feel I am single handedly turning the clocks back on the feminist movement.  That’s fine.

*Do I have other interests?  Yes, I do.

*Do I see things down the pipe for Cherry Tree Lane?  Of course I do.  They will just have to be things that are on my timeline and that will come 2nd, 3rd, 4th to all my other priorities. I may have some small events, do a few things here and there, but it will all be in measure.

*Do I think that mom’s shouldn’t have their own business’?  Please don’t assume that–again, this is ME I am talking about, here.

For me, at this “cycle” in my life, being “JUST A MOM” is where I want to be.  It is my purpose right now and it is for only a time. All the other pieces will fit in somewhere.  Just not all at one time.  

*She intended the “just” as a dig.  I thought of the “just” as a compliment*

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “props for the “just a mom”.

  1. Sean

    For all of the “Just a mom’s” out there, remember you are the CEO of the household. A position that most CEO’s in the business world would not be able to run.

  2. Kat

    I am so on the same page with you on the multitasking thing, I have realized recently that the 500 million ideas swirling in my head can not be done at once if I want any of them to be done right. I have this huge endevour that God has placed before me, and it makes me so happy to be doing it, so all my other 499,999,999 ideas need to wait until this has come to completion.

  3. Mary L

    I absolutely love what you said. I am so glad you have found your way to a place that you are comfortable with and that works for your family. Being a mother is one of the most important roles in our society, and you are awesome at it! Miss K will reap the benefits!

  4. jenn

    ok, so i think the notion that being “just a mom” turns back the clock on feminism, is crazy. the whole point of feminism (in my opinion) is to give women equality and that means (among other things) the ability to have options — CHOICES!!

    i am not a mom, but i can not WAIT to be one and have the blessing of those choices — and i will tell you that as i get older and the reality of children is closer, the idea of being “just a mom” makes me REALLY excited! and that is something i would not have said in my twenties…things evolve, ideas and expectations change…i know that mine have. and that is something that i am OK with (thrilled in fact)!!

  5. Very well said! After my son was born I decided to quit my job that I had been at for 7 years to stay home with my 3 children, it was a great decision, one that many didn’t understand. Unfortunatly I had to go back to work a year and a half later and I am still having difficulty with it. It is hard for me to do both well, either my job performance fails or my performance as a mother fails. My husband and I have been trying to figure out a way to make it so I don’t have to work but with 3 kids it’s hard, but I know one day I will get to be “just a mom” again! Thanks for this post!

  6. From one “Just a mom” to another:

    Bravo! I needed to read this today.

    I too have struggled with whether I could work “just a little bit” on the side to help us out. I taught until we had our second. I subbed a few days a month this school year. In the end, I would just fall behind, feel discouraged and I think we all suffered from it. I feel like God wants me to be “just a mom” so I know that is where I should be! We’ll see where He leads next!

    In all reality, I am still working on figuring out how to be a good “just a mom” and that is job enough for me! Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Vicki

    I was “just a mom in the 70’s and 80’s” when women were suppose to be doing it all, job, kids, house, husband, etc. I quit my job when the first baby came and didn’t work outside of the home for the next 15 years. There was plenty to do in the home. I got tired of people asking me what I did, and came up with my own title. I would say, ” I am a Domestic Engineer.” People would look at me and say “Oh, really”. I’d say yes. I am real busy, and I love my job.

    You are right about the cycles of motherhood. I did do some knitting and crafts to sell to have a little extra money. After the kids got into the 6th grade and Jr. High, I went to work at the school my daughter attended. So I had a school schedule which worked out well.

    I do not regret staying at home raising my children and providing a calm, loving place for them and my husband of 35 1/2 years. I am glad God gave me this opportunity. I know it is not for everyone, but it was important to my husband and myself. We made the decision together. It wasn’t always easy living on one salary, but we knew it was important and God blessed our decision.

    So hang in there and enjoy each day and cycle of motherhood. It is the best job in the world and there isn’t another job that is more important in the world.

  8. Elma

    vI know how you feel:) I also worked when we had our first and became so stressed. Al then said to quit and we would not miss the money.   And he was right:)You may not be able to have everything you want but children are more important than things. I had eight little ones and would not want anyone else raising them for me. I tell my older ones we may not have the newest of THINGS but that o.k. Iknow I have truely been blessed to be a mother of eight and to stay home and take care of Al and our kids. Have a great day!!

  9. Stacy

    Yesterday I went on a long walk by myself just to get away and clear my head. On that walk part of my prayer was that the Lord guide me to where He wants me to be. Not having a job right now and with a baby on the way, I have felt stuck.

    So then I remembered something…

    When I was dating my husband I would think to myself this is not what I imagined my life being like. I imagined myself with a totally different type of person and at one point told Danny I couldn’t be with him anymore because he didn’t fit the mold I created in my head. After another pre-engagement counseling session, I finally decided to listen to what God had planned for me and not what I had envisioned. I knew that if I listened to the Lord and received His gift (my husband) that I would ultimately be blessed my him. I have been blessed in so many ways because I opened my heart to what the Lord was giving me!

    All this to say, I was praying yesterday that I again listen to God and receive His blessing upon me wether it be a job or to provide the means to stay home with my baby. I know myself but I know that God knows me so much better than I could ever imagine.

    Rachel, knowing you, I know you listened to your heart and what God has placed on you. You are receiving His gift right now of being able to stay home with Miss K and no one has any right to disregard your blessing! You didn’t follow what society says to do or what the norm may be. You followed your Father and through Him, you will receive true fulfillment!

    Love you girl!

  10. That is so rude for her to say. “Just a mom.” Psht. I’m just a mom, too, and it’s so much more difficult than people realize. That’s part of the frustration for me.
    Groan. I’m kind of happy that others go through the same thing; otherwise, I don’t know how I would cope with annoying people.

  11. ha! pox on the chick who said that! bet she didnt have kids!
    i love this post. to me ( at my mommy age) it speaks volumes as to where you and miss k are at in your bonding. it is HARD to be “just a mom” and it is HARD to “just work” – u can’t forget about being a mom at work and you don’t forget about working while being a mom. I think one of the best things about women is that we are so multi-faceted! we can do/be ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!!!!!
    i was “just a mom” for several years, then i went back to work – found that satisfying for a bit. then quit to go to school just in time for half day kindergarten and rEALLY got to enjoy being “just a mom” and a student! now we’re in a different cycle of me going back to work and I’m sure I will have many new titles but the one that is still my favorite is “just” MOM!!!

  12. I think ‘just-a-mom’s’ are the coolest, strongest women out there! Bravo to you for landing the job that makes you happy – not everyone can say that!

  13. i couldn’t have written a better post myself, lol! i agree with you 100%. i love how other people can do that-the dig & compliment in the same breath. hehehe. whatever is what i say! they have no idea what they are missing!

  14. I was just a mom for 10 years until I took a part time job. I’d go back in a heartbeat. I was a much better mom/wife/housekeeper when I could focus on those jobs.

    Unfortunately, college is right down the road and it’s not cheap!

  15. couple of things:

    (1) did she have kids? I’m thinking she doesn’t if she said “just a mom.” Anyone that is a mom, working outside the home or not, would know exactly what you meant by your response that you are doing “lots of things.”

    (2) I agree with Jenn that feminism is about choices. I think about the women all over the world that are essentially prisioners in their own countries – they can only dream of an education of any kind, a career, a loving marriage. We are so blessed here in the USA to have the choices we have as women.

    And your choice to be “just a mom” – the fact that you could make such a choice in consultation with God and your husband – should be celebrated. Not debated or argued about. Period. The end.

  16. I can ditto absolutely everything you said. Just went through the same experience these last 9 months.

    I guess it is true that people do things for their own reasons, not ours.

    I prayed and struggled to do what was best for our family. And what I chose was unpopular with many well-meaning people. But we are at peace finally and that is worth all the judgment of a thousand well-meaning people.

  17. Good for you for embracing your mommyhood. =) You know how I feel about this whole subject and I love our talks and your perspectives. ♥

  18. I love, love, love this post! I can relate to everything you said. I worked from home for some time as soon as my daughter was born. It was so difficult for me and I couldn’t give 100% to my daughter or my job. Now I am “just a mom,” who crafts, blogs, and sells hair bows when my family is down for the night. I feel so fortunate to get to stay home with her and give her 100% of myself. I don’t know what I will do when she goes to school!

  19. Michelle Eastman

    We need to remember the BIBLICAL call of motherhood …

    It is not to serve ourselves, or get accolades for being a fabulous parent or having children who become brain surgeons.

    We are raising our children for ETERNITY and our sole purpose as a parent should be to have our children standing next to us in heaven.

  20. Great post Rachel! I have struggled with this a lot. The identity crisis part was really hard for me right after I had Sydney…who was I if I didn’t have a job title to go behind my name. But I’ve gotten over that and I think found the real me in the process. I’ve felt the pressure to have a small business as well. This past fall in my MOPS group at church a wonderful woman spoke about the “seasons” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) we go through as women/moms/etc. Seasons of mommy-hood, seasons of growing and learning, seasons of being career focused, and the list goes on for each of us. And God will make time for each season – we don’t have to do it all at once. This completely took the pressure off of me and really allowed me to focus on being a mom and taking care of my family.

  21. I have been *just* a mom for 17 years now. Like you, I just can’t have more than one focus in my life. If I tried to work, I would go batty, and my children would not have the Mom that they need. Oprah had a great show on this yesterday. Maybe there are women out there who can do both well, I am just not one of them. IMO, being *just* a mom is one of the greatest things a woman can do. I do have other interests and hobbies, and these things help to keep me sane. However, they never take priority over my husband and children. I am very happy with my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Great post!

  22. Andrea

    Thanks for this post… I love “just being a mom” and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel blessed to be able to stay home and raise my boys.

  23. Sometimes I forget how great it is to be JUST a mom. My goal lately has been to say “No.” To all the outside stuff – outside of my family – and to spend time “sit and enjoy” (as my four year old would say) and be just a mom. Thank you for the reminder! You’ve inspired me. I think I’ll go write some more…

  24. Pingback: JAM {just a mom} on it! and some ice. « no. 17 cherry tree lane

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